Sunday, January 25, 2015


Progress has been slow but steady around here. Today I finally got the top all sewn together for my Grand Illusion mystery quilt. It still needs the borders added, I will work on those next.

The photo is awful because it is dark out and this quilt is really too big for one person to hold, but you get the idea.

I've been taking my time partially to see how everyone else is finishing their quilts. A lot of people (myself included) found the original design too busy and altered it. I've been looking for ideas and I think what I ended up with is pretty good considering I wasn't really willing to do any re-work. A lot of people ditched the checkerboards, but they took my FOREVER so I wasn't about to scrap them. This way I used all of the pieces I had already made and just altered their orientation.

Throughout the process I've been trying pretty hard to keep things nice and straight. I really wanted to push my perfect pieces. But once it came time to put these blocks together, all the perfection went out the window. There are a LOT of wonky seams. At some point you have to decide how much you care, and I decided this quilt wasn't going in any shows, and a lot of the imperfections are the kind of small things that only I would notice, so they stayed in.

Do you see how wonky that navy square is??

Can I just say though, I HATE these checkerboards? They were a total pain to make - this step took me a month alone - and they don't even fit with the quilt. The main block is a nine patch (in thirds) and these are an eight patch (in fourths) so the seams don't match up. That annoys me. And the color in them, purple, isn't in the main block, which means instead of tying the quilt together, they throw in a completely new element. And finally, they really show errors. They are supposed to be little squares and I think 80% of mine are rectangles. Even though I was trimming mine down at each step of the assembly, almost all of these were about a quarter inch to half inch too long. It was frustrating.

It's a rectangle.
In other news, I made this cute pincushion.

It was based off this tutorial. Somehow my lid ended up looking very much like a clown hat, but I still think the overall effect is pretty adorable. (And notice I tried very hard to ensure that all of my hearts were face up!) It is for my guild's pincushion swap. Hopefully nobody will mind that it isn't "modern."

And ALSO! I never shared my Christmas sewing. I made these wine totes from a tutorial here. They came together quickly and I think they look pretty good!

I also made a bee block - did I show this already? Can't remember.

It was supposed to be improv. We all discussed in our bee how much we appreciated it because it turns out we are all super uncomfortable with improv. It was a good learning experience, but I will have to do more with improv before I really feel comfortable with it.

I also wanted to share...last weekend I was in Chicago. We visited the Art Institute and the BEST PART was an exhibit of a bunch of miniature rooms. Here I am next to one for a sense of scale.

Almost of them had itty bitty needlepoint objects inside. I also do needlepoint, so I was pretty much blown away by these things.

Here is one in progress on a frame. And you can see the rug as well. Can you believe how real this room looks?!?!

And the needlepoint chairs! Look at that chair! It's probably 4 inches tall. Totally crazy.

Needless to say, my boyfriend had to drag me out of there I was so in love with all those miniature rooms :)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Grand Illusion Link Up 6

Grand Illusion Mystery

Well hello! I haven't linked up since week two because...well...I'm still stuck on clue 3. I don't know why, but it is going suuuuper slow for me. I've only gotten 90 of the 8 patch units finished.

But the advantage of falling behind is that I get to see whatever everyone else has done with their quilts before I decide what to do with mine! One of the most fun parts of these mysteries is to see how everyone makes the quilt their own.

I spent a loooong time last night arranging and rearranging my blocks in many formations to try to decide what my favorite layout was. I have narrowed it down to two options and would love your help choosing.

Option 1:

I really like how the pinwheels POP with the teal centers and navy edges. I think it makes a a bold, eye-catching statement. And since the pink and teal were my two favorite parts of this color scheme, I had to put the pinks in the cornerstones. But the big disadvantage of this design is that you lose the double diamond impact of Bonnie's original.

Option 2:

I think the pinwheels make less of a wham bang with the pink next to the teal centers instead of the navy, but this way you can see the secondary design of the diamonds formed by the navy lines. This is very similar to Bonnie's layout.

So, what's your vote? You have to squint and stand 20 feet from your computer before you decide! I might have to whip up some mock-ups in photoshop of how each design will look with the full number of repetitions.

And go check out all of the other quilts! There is so much inspiration as many tops are complete! As always, thanks to Bonnie for putting this wonderful design out there for free. I know it can be a big headache for her with SO MANY participants, but it sure is a blast for all of us!